Intimidated Once and Then Secretly Rebellious Forever After

Updated on September 28, 2018
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

First Bullied---Then a Rebel
First Bullied---Then a Rebel

Rebellious Tail-Wagging

Older than the oldest rebellion ever recorded is this feeling of resentment, and even a suppressed rage upon a violation of our self-esteem. That feeling when we hate ourselves more than we hate those who caused it, for not finding a strength to smash that sneering face.

Time has proven its ability to heal grief, disappointment, even a loss of possessions and status, but time is helpless when it's about stopping us from secretly repeating for the rest of our lives: "Who do you think you are!"

We all have some pretty functional defensive mechanisms protecting our precious ego from disturbances from emotionally charged memories, so the incident of intimidation gets buried somewhere in the subconscious dungeons.

However, not completely, as if a small shaft is left for its steam to seep out and get converted into something unrecognizable to the conscious mind. That may take several forms, but all have one thing in common---a rebellion, a need to oppose, to disagree.

In some of us that one incident of intimidation was enough to keep that rebellion at bay as we don't feel emotionally equipped for confrontation. To avoid it we turn into an outwardly "nice" folks. We like to credit ourselves for something like "flexibility", while the only thing that's flexible is that tail which we have trained to wag so friendly. Inside we may be cynical about people---cynicism being our nonviolent form of confrontation. We also call it "passive aggressive" behavior.

Sometimes a Strong Façade Is Motivated by  Insecurity
Sometimes a Strong Façade Is Motivated by Insecurity

Insecurity in Disguise

In those unsafe suburbs of my childhood and youth I had a few school friends with their young egos dented by bullying from either a sibling or a classmate. Well, I called them friends, but maybe poor guys were just friendly by default, not being emotionally able to afford being otherwise.

One of them signed up at a gym, and soon pumped up an impressive musculature, I would guess, hoping to ward off any potential bully with his looks. Then he got his ass kicked by a dude half his size because he apparently had a habit to tease the dude's girlfriend too much at school.

Another one turned a chronic skeptic getting on everyone's nerves by his insecure questioning everything. Couldn't get that guy to be sure about one single thing. "But what if they are wrong?" was his mantra in every conversation about the most insignificant thing.

How could I ever forget one who got so good at playing chess and so passionate about "kicking all our asses" at the chessboard---since that's how he probably chose to see his victories.

Another one married very young to a not so good looking chick, his hurting ego in a need of someone who will be "grateful" and forever "looking up to him". Well, the last I heard, he got divorced, with his egos possibly recovered enough to allow him to hit on someone "better looking".

O.K., while we may even find something humorous and goofy about these examples, there are innumerable cases of those less obvious secret sufferers of intimidation, even at an advanced age still licking their ego wounds between two outbursts of rebellion.

Undisciplined Mind Sometimes Reminds of an Easily Scared Monkey
Undisciplined Mind Sometimes Reminds of an Easily Scared Monkey

Taming the Emotional Monkey Within

It must have been for the people's defensive denial of what was really bothering them that I never got an ambition to become a shrink of a kind---even after passionately reading a ton of those smart books about "human condition".

I just couldn't see making it my business to try helping all those who would stubbornly avoid to see their emotional truth. It reminds me of a confession of a psychotherapist who said how with most of his clients he feels like kicking their asses all the way to the door for sabotaging their improvement with denials.

Also, for an intuitive lack of interest for religious belief I couldn't see myself in that confession booth listening to those stories tailored for the holy ears. However, I must admit, I am a sucker for that proverbial offering a shoulder for crying, probably more due to my innate, at times almost telepathic ability to empathize, rather than to some strictly altruistic convictions.

So, I do understand the whole humanness of suffering, but my own disciplined dealing with my own emotional tendencies to monkey around don't really condone it.

As the saying goes: "Mind is an obedient servant, but a cruel master". That was my motto for many years while I was in the business of taming that emotional monkey in me. In the process of it I learned some incredibly valuable stuff which was quite opposed to everything from those textbooks of psychotherapy.

Thanks to that stuff I have turned myself into a "mental athlete", pushing my limits with sheer intent, creating some fabulous new models of experiencing and changed the inner algorithms of processing the factual reality.

From that platform of "what is humanly possible" I never accepted people's excuses stemming from mental laziness. Likewise, this matter of inner rebellion looking for an outer scapegoat never got from me more than a nod of recognizing people's refusal to defeat that intimidation complex at its root.

Rebelling May Become Its Own Cause
Rebelling May Become Its Own Cause

Using Political Scapegoats

An old adage says it so nicely: "Stubbornness is a poor surrogate for integrity". And yet, I read and hear about all kinds of poor excuses for people's stubborn rebelling against both Donald and Hillary. The emotional contribution makes it all transparent, suffocating any logicalness of their arguments.

It has all turned into one big political farce, with the only "sinister" force at work being the people's inner need to rebel against something. Remove these two scapegoats and people will quickly find someone else to rebel against.

Trying to take it away from them would be similar to grabbing a favorite toy out of hands of a toddler while he is at his best playful element. Nothing in the department of rationality seems to help much, as they can't see with eyes blinded by rebelling passion how absolutely nothing gets achieved.

Media have done a number on people's gullibility, actually to the point where they can publicize even a most transparent lie and it will be instantly believed. At times it's hard to accept as true that grownups are so capable of losing their sensibility---all fueled by a revamped phantom of an old emotional hurt from intimidation.

"Who do you think you are!" is the hidden cry behind all those futile protests and pathetic verbal assaults on innocent members of their "villains" ' families. A bully of the past now impersonated by an authority figure. A boss, a manipulative wife or a mother-in-law, or even some abstract intimidators like a hike in the cost of living---all being channeled into this one rebellion against a "common" enemy called Donald or Hillary.

Never Enough Things to Oppose To
Never Enough Things to Oppose To

Amateurish Calls to Fix Injustices

Political scene is not the only one where people exercise their rebelliousness. Other than union members, there are all kinds of activists and their easy to find followers who pick an enemy in the society---or even up in celestial realms. Their "just cause" is missing only one thing---the realization that some isolated cases don't mean a widespread existence of an injustice.

They don't see how they will always have something to rebel against because people are only people and those isolated injustices will keep popping up here and there indefinitely---whether they are protested against or not.

Just like those political protesters are failing to see how the next in the line of presidents will be just as unpopular in the eyes of some as the present one is---so everyone is losing nerves and efforts over nothing, with no "final betterment" to be achieved.

The retrospect is the best proof to it---as no matter which party has been in power from one election to another, the standard of living of the majority hasn't changed substantially one way or another.

Then, there are those secret rebels that you would never suspect to be that---critics and commentators. And I already mentioned skeptics at the beginning. Those folks always have "something to say"---they just can't accept, let everyone be, even though they may guard their own right to express themselves very passionately.

Here we are talking about a double standard in "freedom of speech", which is like a cat chasing its tail---as critics don't approve others' right to their own opinion, intellectual tastes, convictions, while reminding everybody about their own right.

The perfect example being so many religions, each one preaching about "love for all human beings", but criticizing others' interpretations of that "loving". Which only proves how even faith contains a hidden rebellion---while preaching peace. Well, people are only people, and their holy teachings don't make them any more holy.

Finding Freedom and Peace Is an Inside Job
Finding Freedom and Peace Is an Inside Job

It's All About Perception

So, what is the solution? Are we evolutionally stuck at this stage where a single hurt to our ego may set us up on the path of a perpetuate rebelling against anything that even remotely or symbolically resembles that "superior sneer" over our defeat?

Well, it's really up to each person's innate or cultivated ability to get consciously beyond their "game of nerves" and take a full responsibility for it. For, sooner or later, in one form of another every thinking person gets to the realization that the whole life is just a state of mind.

Nothing is really happening "out there", as we are not dealing with the factual reality, but only with our selective interpretation of it. Anyone including myself could easily prove it---by just changing an attitude about those most burning issues in our lives.

Suddenly, what yesterday seemed like a "big deal" now is a "piece of cake" to handle. Exactly the same happenstances, same presidents, same manipulative mothers-in-law, or other "culprits" of our life ---lose their significance, just with an inner shift in our attitude and perception .

It all becomes a silly game of nerves, easily replaceable with something more happiness-promoting, even health-promoting. Well, some would call it "wisdom of living a full life", this ability to grab the commands after being switched on automatic pilot for a long while.

Earlier I quoted that old adage which is worth repeating: "Mind is an obedient servant, but a cruel master". When mind is in the driver's seat, we hear ourselves saying: "That's the way I am, and that's the only way that I can be". Poor souls, we even say it with a good dose of pride.

Are we sure about that?

Questions & Answers


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      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 

        19 months ago from Oklahoma

        Interesting perspective.

      • jonnycomelately profile image


        19 months ago from Tasmania

        Vlad, and all you other individuals who have posted here: this is profoundly important topic, as all have realised otherwise you would have walked away from such a discussion. I personally certainly would have.

        That bit about Fear --- the precursor of most everything else. My fear of being dominated, because I was subject to domination very early on and it has shaped my life in so many ways. My fear of getting into arguments because usually I lose (or end up in tears) and then get left out in the cold; losing out on the company- "compan-ion-ship" - that I desparately desired and missed out on.

        All this comes originally out of fear, the purpose of which as Vlad has pointed out, is to protect us from susequent harm.

        My fear leads to prediction, guessing what is likely to happen if I do this or do that.

        Then comes rapidly an assessment of what the other person might do or say to me, more potential threats. I make a judgement - pre-judice. I react: up goes the barrier. Or I turn and run away. Separation increases. Loneliness. Prejudice becomes the norm, a habit. One that becomes almost irreversible, debilitating, anti-social, you might even say soul-destroying.

        Where does all this get us? Well, for me the importance is in coming to understand myself, that deeoer awareness which can lead to positive growth and, hopefully lower the barrier somewhat. Drop the prejudice and be more kindly to the other person's difficulties at least some of the time.

        I hope this is not too much of a's written with difficulty on a smart phone.

      • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

        Vladimir Karas 

        19 months ago from Canada

        Three Keys---Great and interesting comment, with one little misreading---I was not writing about "personal experience", so I can't take "congratulations for coping so well and turning things around". You know, people sometimes observe, think, make conclusions about others' behavior. Like someone writing about crime is not necessarily a criminal, LOL.

      • profile image


        19 months ago

        This article made me want to express this.

        It could very well be where someone was easy going and amicable and due to unprovoked intimidation and bullying because a quiet rebel. But like with all assaults of the body or psyche, revenge mostly leaves the target or victim moving towards becoming that who was the perpetrator. That is, becoming the the intimidator or bully. Whether that is physically, emotionally, mentally or psychically.

        The key is (and it isn't fair), for the intended to break this infectious cycle of hate and somehow retain his/her original psyche with the additional growth that the intimidated has been forced to accrue. Otherwise, the cycle of hate, bulling and intimidation is perpetuated.

        Vladmir, congratulations on coping so well and turning things around. But I feel you may have swung too far in one direction where you are perhaps a little scathing of people "that don't make it". Pride can creep up on us without us being aware of it. We are all subject to it and one time or rather. Being warm, generous and accepting with one's limitations at the present time, can be a rewarding life experience, too. If we make it so. For the most part, everyone is trying to do the best they can with what they have and what they know.

      • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

        Vladimir Karas 

        19 months ago from Canada

        MizBejabbers---That's a good question. It's because a great majority of people are constantly switched to automatic pilot which is ruled by strategies of psycho-physical survival. The chief emotion in that arsenal is fear---just like in animals, because fear generates caution which is crucial to survival.

        Then we have our memory bank catering to that same surviving game with mostly those "warning", or negative experiences, the replay of which is to be avoided in the future.

        Thus, a direct answer to your smart question would be---we remember mostly what was bad because in processing of our factual reality we have to spot those warning signs associated to those bad memories.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James-MizBejabbers 

        19 months ago from Beautiful South

        Your "obedient servant" quote reminds me of the political football of a few years back when Vice President Dan Quayle was addressing the United Negro College Fund. He misquoted their slogan "a mind is a terrible thing to waste" by saying "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is." But it shows what happens when our mind is in control.

        Why is it that our minds can be forgetful of the good things we've experienced in life, but it is impossible to forget the bad ones?

      • louise-barraco profile image

        Louise Barraco 

        19 months ago from Ontario

        Good hub :)


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